June 21, 2024

The worth of a child’s life

The impact of the governing power of North America has left its colonized imprint in the depths of Indigenous culture that complicates the relationship between Indigenous communities and the governments of Canada and the United States.

    These governments in the early years believed in “Kill the Indian, Save the Man,” and  forced assimilation that had generational trauma, cultural forgottenness, and the growing self-development in what it means to be Indigenous in North America.

    Assimilation that was brought on by early governmental powers was an attempt to destroy the Indigenous American values, traditional ways, and cultural identity of being “Indian.” State institutionalized boarding schools had Western European religious values, tongue, and European influences. During this assimilation, thousands of children were taken — even stolen — by people of the church, who abused them in ways that are not written in the journals of nuns, priests, and other workers but by the children who survived the horrors of these schools. The polities of this process of governmental law were to assimilate the Indigenous people as citizens of the nation. 

    In Canada, 139 institutions had more than 150,000 children. Several thousand never returned home, but instead were found in unmarked graves without ties to tribes. Remains of the first 215  missing children are on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. As of September, 2021,  6,509 have been found. 

    In the U.S. the American Indian Boarding School had 150 institutionalized schools that were run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, which aimed to civilize the Native Americans. Education in the BIA-led schools was in the hands of religious teachers and governmental funded operations in the Civilization Fund Act of 1819. This act of the U.S. government was put to an end in 1975 by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act as a way to have the nations have full control in the future of their children and individual tribes. 

   The number of children that passed from the mistreatment and abuse and buried had been estimated to be 15,000 children.

    Every Child Matters means all children are important and are the future of modern generations. The act that caused the slogan for Orange Shirt Day takes place each September 30, and honors the 

Indigenous children who were left behind and survived the residential school days.